Re: [xmca] Re: Boris assists Mike assists Eric

From: Lisa Kuh <lpk2 who-is-at>
Date: Sun Nov 25 2007 - 18:42:57 PST

As Wenger (and Lave) have recently been entered into the conversation, I
shift from the conversatin on identity and pose a question that has been on
my mind for a while regarding the relationship between Wenger's focus on
characteristics of "practice" and a CHAT perspective on "activity". Having
moved a bit between a theoretical lens that looks at teacher collaboration
via a community of practice perspective and an activity theory perspective,
I am wondering if folks have any thoughts about the relationship between
these two. How does Wenger's conception of practice- a community of
practice - fit with CHAT? Wenger, in his notes from Ch. 1 in Communities of
Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity distinguishes his work from
activity theory and states:

"I would argue that our actions do not achieve their meanings in and of
themselves, but rather in the context of a broader process of negotiation.
By startging iwth practice as a context for the negotiation of meaning, I do
not assume that activities carry their own meaning. This is one reason
that I will not take discrete activities, or even systems of activities, as
a fundamental unit of analysis. In this reagrd, theories based on practice
have a different onotological foundation than activity theory." (He cites
Leont'ev 1981 and Wertsch, 1985).

Yet, I have spoken to many who belive that Wenger "counts" as activity
theory. Any clarification on this would be most helpful to my work.

Lisa P. Kuh, M.Ed.
Eliot-Pearson Children's School
Tufts University
PhD Candidate, Teacher Education
University of Washington

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mike Cole" <>
To: "Wolff-Michael Roth" <>
Cc: <>; "eXtended Mind, Culture,Activity"
Sent: Sunday, November 25, 2007 12:00 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] Re: Boris assists Mike assists Eric

Oh Gosh! I forgot something and only hedged with "as I recall." !! And my
copy of the book was not 5 minutes, but 10 miles away.
Sloppy sloppy. :-(

Thanks for your lesson in using the environment to remember, Michael.
Thanks for your selection of quotes, Adam.

Going through all the places where identity is invoked in the book, I come
away confused about warrants for statements
about identity that imply claims about subjectivity as seen from the
perspective of the individual. They quote Cain about the way
"a person understands and views himself" but how does this fit with the
epistemological position from the p. 53 quote?

Similarly, these statements confuse me:
In the section on motivation and identity (starts on 110) they claim that
motivation is linked to "an increasing sense of identity as a master
practitioner" (111). Later in that same section they adamantly argue against
a "view of 'self' as object" or schooling practices that view a learner's
identity as "an explicit object of change" (112).

what view of identity is used in the first statement? How others view and
position one
as a master practitioner of one's understanding and views of himself? If the
latter, what
is the evidentiary basis for such a claim?

I assume the purport of the p. 112 statement is to focus on participation in
practices as the
desired focus of efforts to promote change. "Self" does not appear in the

It was my impression (no checking any refs or past messages as I write this)
that in our discussion
vis a vis identity as a concept, we were in part addressing its double sided
nature, as created by
others and by the conscious/self-conscious individual acting in the world.
How does a social ontology
get you the later perspective? The answer is probably obvious to those in
the know. I am not one of them.
Some members of xmca are.

On Nov 24, 2007 5:20 PM, Wolff-Michael Roth <> wrote:

> On 24-Nov-07, at 12:52 PM, Tony Whitson wrote:
> Identity is one of the most central and prominent themes in Wenger's work.
> On Sat, 24 Nov 2007, Mike Cole wrote:
> I am not sure how our multi-log has helped your understanding, Eric, but
> glad it was useful to you.
> As I understand them, Lave and Wenger espouse a social ontology and I
> do not recall them having talked about identity.
> I you looked at the index of their book, you would find a lot of entries,
> a number of them in bold. I don't want to be picky, but don't we want to
> have informed discussions. I knew they were all about identity, and it
> took
> me only 5 seconds to go to the book shelves, get the book and find the
> index
> entry.
> :-)
> Michael
> But they do use the quasi
> dimension, peripheral-->central which implies some sort of common set
> of social norms and expectations, a.k.a. superego bound up with what
> is considered central.
> Being peripheral (what might have been refered to at other times as
> marginal)
> is not all that bad a subject position. Some might even argue that it
> provides
> a privileged view of the workings of the system that is human life.
> mike
> On Nov 24, 2007 12:20 PM, <> wrote:
> Wow, Boris & Mike:
> That is truely enlightening. I appreciate the formation of the ideal that
> has evolved from this discourse. I was floundering at first Mike,
> regarding your comment on superego, but having read and reread the post
> from Boris I now concur that personality research is not for the
> collective
> but rather for the understanding of cultural influences upon development.
> Mike, in your opinion does Lave and Wagner's research on legitimate
> peripheral participation assist in the research pertaining to identity?
> Thank you Andy for beginning this fabulous thread
> grateful for the discourse,
> not dead yet,
> eric
> To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <>
> cc: Boris Meshcheryakov <>
> bcc:
> Subject: Fwd: Fwd: [xmca] Vygotsky on Identity?
> "Mike Cole" <>
> Sent by:
> 11/23/2007 08:50 AM PST
> Please respond to mcole <font size=-1></font>
> In red below is my attempt at translation of a note from Boris
> Mescheryakov
> re identity and personality in LSV. Boris, whose work you can read in the
> Companion to Vygotsky and elsewhere
> was kind enough to look up relevant passages from LSV. I probably have not
> done the translation justice, but most all of this exists in English and
> others more knowledgeable of Russian
> can straighten things out.
> It appears were are dealing with issues that are not usefully reduced to
> either or....... again.
> mike
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Boris Meshcheryakov <>
> Date: Nov 23, 2007 12:01 AM
> Subject: Re: Fwd: [xmca] Vygotsky on Identity?
> To: Mike Cole <>
> Здравствуй, Mike.
> По-видимому, правы те, кто считает, что проблема идентичности,
> идентификации, самоопределения (самодетерминации) не были самостоятельным
> предметом размышлений и исследований Выготского. Могу лишь предложить
> некоторые его высказывания о развитии личности и самосознании (эту связь
> Выготский четко описывал):
> Apparently, those who believe that the problem of identity,
> identification,
> self determination were not independent subjects of thought and
> investigation by LSV are correct. I can only propos a few of his
> statements
> on the development of personality and self consciousness (this connection
> Vygotsky clearly did describe)
> ?...отличие ребенка от подростка может быть лучше всего выражено
> положением
> Гегеля, который различал вещи в себе и вещи для себя. Он говорил, что все
> вещи суть сначала в себе, но на этом дело не останавливается и в процессе
> развития вещь превращается в вещь для себя. Так, говорил он, человек в
> себе
> есть ребенок, задача которого состоит не в том, чтобы оставаться в этом
> абстрактном и неразвитом "в себе", а в том, чтобы стать также и для себя
> тем, чем он пока есть лишь в себе, именно стать свободным и разумным
> существом. Вот это превращение ребенка из человека в себе в подростка ?
> человека для себя ? и составляет главное содержание всего кризиса
> переходного возраста. Это есть эпоха созревания личности и
> мировоззрения...?
> (Педология подростка, Собр. соч., т. 4, с. 199).
> "the difference between child and adolescent may be best expressed by
> Hegel's position that distinguished things in themselves and things for
> oneself. He said that the all things are initially in themselves, but
> matters do not stop at this point and in the process of development the
> thing turns into a thing for onself. Thus, he said, a person (man) in
> himself is a child, whose task is to leave behind that abstract and
> undeveloped "in himself" and in so doing, in order to become for himself
> in
> a way that he is in the meantime only in himself, that is, to become a
> free
> and intelligent being. This very transformation of the child into an adult
> (man) in himself in the adolescent -- a person (man) for himself--
> constitutes the major content of the entire crisis of this transitional
> age.
> It is an epoch of the maturation of personality and world view (Pedology
> of
> the Adolescent, Comp Works, v4, p. 199)
> "Личность становится для себя тем, что она есть в себе, через то, что она
> предъявляет для других. Это и есть процесс становления личности" (История
> развития ВПФ, Собр. соч., т. 3, с. 144). (A) Personality becomes for
> itself, when it has previously been in itself, through what it
> manifests
> through others (History of Dev of HPF, Coll. Works, Vol 3, p. 144)
> Очень важное добавление из "Истории развития ВПФ": "The following addition
> from same work is very important:
> ?Дж. Болдуин справедливо отметил, что понятие о "я" развивается у ребенка
> из
> понятия о других. Понятие ?личность? есть, т.о., социальное, отраженное
> понятие, строящееся на основе того, что ребенок применяет по отношению к
> самому себе те приемы приспособления, которые он применяет по отношению к
> другим. Вот почему можно сказать, что личность есть социальное в нас? (т.
> 3, с. 324/ жирн. шрифт мой ? Б.М.).
> James Baldwin correctly noted that the concept of "I" develops in a child
> from the concept of others. The concept, personality, that is, the social,
> reflected, concept, is built on the basis of the fact that the child uses
> in
> relationship to himself those means of adaptation which he uses in
> relationship to others. This is why it is possible to say that personality
> is the social in us. (vol 3, p. 324)
> Из "Психологического словаря" Варшавы и Выготского (1931) From Varshava
> and
> Vygotsky (1931) *Psychological Dictionary*:
> "Идентификация (Фрейд) - отождествление, уподобление себя другой личности,
> приписывание себе признаков определенного человека. Идентификация играет
> огромную роль в сновидениях, в творчестве, в мечтах. Психологический смысл
> И. сводится к расширению круга переживаний, к обогащению внутреннего
> опыта".
> Identification (Freud) - the equating, making similar, of oneself to
> another
> personality, the adoption by oneself of the characteristics of a specific
> person. Identification plays a huge role in reminisences, dreams and
> creativity. The psychological sense of identification comes down to the
> widening of one's circle of experiences (perezhivania), to the enrichment
> of
> innner life.
> "Личность - термин, означающий единство и индивидуальность всех жизненных
> и
> психологических проявлений человека; человек, сознающий сам себя как
> определенное индивидуальное единство и тождество во всех процессах
> изменения, происходящих в организме и психике, есть личность. Болезнь Л.
> выражается в распаде этого единства"
> Personality is a term indicating a unity in the indivualenss of all
> everyday
> life and psychological manifestation of persons; a person (man) accepting
> himself as a certain individual unity and entity in all processes of
> change
> that take place in the organism and the psyche - this is personality.
> Disease of personality is expressed in the disintegration of this unity.
> И еще: В "Психологии искусства" в главе о "Гамлете" Выготский акцентирует
> понятие "второго рождения" . В работах А.Н. Леонтьева тоже встречается
> этот
> термин в связи с развитием самосознания в подростковом возрасте. And
> also:
> In *Psychology of Art *in the chapter on Hamlet Vygotsky accentuates the
> concept, "second birth." In the works of AN Leontiev one also encounters
> this term in connection with the development of selfconsciousness during
> adolescence.
> --
> С уважением,
> Б.М.
> <><>
> _______________________________________________
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> Tony Whitson
> UD School of Education
> NEWARK DE 19716
> _______________________________
> "those who fail to reread
> are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
> -- Roland Barthes, S/Z
> (1970)_______________________________________________
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